Annual Performance Review

Employee: Scout

Strengths: Securing the premises against canine and other feline infiltration

Areas to Improve: Serving as a curtain tie back (please let in more sunlight)

Conclusion: Renew contract for another year and then re-evaluate

Annual Goals for 2012-2013: Learning to fold laundry and empty the dishwasher


Moving the Party Outdoors


A Cat Story

She asked, “Are you coming outside or what?!”

I said, “Not until you do your tap dance routine.”



She said, “Fine, but not unless you get me my top hat and cane.”

So I did.  And then she did.

Then I said, “Ha ha, I was going to come outside whether you did the routine or not.”

Then she came inside and puked on the carpet.

I guess we’re even.


(Side Note: Are cats supposed to be this long?  When I look at this picture I can’t help but think Abby was playing a trick on me.  Like she persuaded Scout or a neighborhood cat to go in on the “Super Tall Cat” gag.  They rented a Giant Abby costume made from real fur and catskin.  Inside the costume the accomplice cat was on the bottom standing on its hind legs while Abby was sitting on its shoulders to convincingly look like the tallest domestic cat in the world.  I’m not sure if all of this was for laughs or attaining greater power over humans.  I am watching their moves very closely.)

If I’m being honest, when this photo was taken Abby wasn’t really eager for me to frolic outdoors with her.  She actually wanted me to let her inside.  Just like the second photo of Scout in this post – Scout isn’t really screaming; she’s yawning.  It’s okay though, they’ve both given consent for me to create whatever story I want with their photos.  Between the verbal consent and the fact that cats don’t recognize their own reflection or pictures of themselves, I figure I’m in the clear.

But there are parts of the Cat Story that are true.  For example, I am planning on spending more time outside.  In fact, I am going to fight every ounce of lethargy and overwhelmedness in my body and attempt to get back to triathlons.  After not racing for nearly two years, I am ready to start training for the Pittsburgh Triathlon in July.  Training this month will be a huge challenge since I still carry the weight of my comprehensive exams (due end of May/early June), but I’m hoping that making a public proclamation to compete in the Pittsburgh Triathlon will serve as one form of accountability to help that goal come to fruition.

Another aspect of the Cat Story that’s true – Abby can totally tap dance.


Mom Says I Have the Gift of Encouragement

If I had a little more time on my hands and fewer piles that needed to be filed or scrapbooked, I would love to create e-cards and/or greeting cards as a hobby.  I have even gone so far as to imagine this site evolving beyond a blog to include an e-store of sorts with cards and fonts and stock photos.  Why not dream big?  Well, I’m far from pursuing that dream right now and perhaps far from qualified, but I was reminded of this interest this weekend when I stumbled across a funny website that helps people caption photos, particularly funny pet photos.  I started to try out the website, and then I thought, wait!  I know how to do this with my own software!  In fact, this is what I want to do someday with my photos in the form of greeting cards!

I stopped using the website, but took the photo that I was going to use and created my own sample e-card (some of you have seen this photo and idea before).  My website doesn’t have the ability to send actual e-cards right now, but if you find the message below deeply moving and appropriate for a loved one, I suppose the image could be a makeshift e-card if you click on the photo, copy the URL, and send the URL link to whoever needs to feel your electronic love and support.

In a time of economic hardship for our country, hopefully the following “e-card” will uplift many.

Job Loss E-card


Being Illiterate Can Be Fun!

An undergrad that works on one of my research projects in the lab told me today that she is going to send me things “to keep me up to date.”  Wow.  Just wow.  I don’t really feel old, but for fun I like to joke about feeling old.  Sometimes, though, I do get pure glimpses of the ever increasing age gap between me and the undergraduate species. I have not been one of those young whipper-snapping undergrads for over a decade, so I am grateful that I have people like Jenna to keep me hip and in the loop and to help me take my mind off all of the things that my generation thinks about when we’re not napping – like BenGay, shuffleboard, and Early Bird dinner specials.

Today Jenna sent me a YouTube clip that apparently is “the latest thing.” (Karla, you don’t even have to like cats to appreciate this!)

Yes, any generation can adore the fresh, creative, slightly spastic mind of young, innocent children. My favorite part is “No…she’s…nooot!”  What’s yours?


Groundhog Day

Scout: I saw my shadow.  Winter is over.  Let me in now, my job is done.


Me: You have that backwards. When Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, like he did this morning, that means we have six more weeks of winter.


Looks like someone could use some cheering up, perhaps with a new catnip toy.  Either that or an all-expense paid trip to the Caribbean, but we’ll start with the fake mouse and see if that can’t subdue her inner cobra until spring arrives.


Fairness Among Siblings

The other day I caught my cat, Scout, surfing the internet. She wondered why I had posted pictures of Abby on my blog but not her.  I tried to take advantage of the moment and say that it was because Abby had completed more chores around the house and if only Scout would empty the dishwasher and do some dusting then she too could have a post of her own, but she saw right through me. That blasted sixth sense of hers.

I wish I wish I wish that I had been video recording the night two summers ago when we eye-witnessed an amazing hunting scene with Scout (as the predator).  I am convinced we could have submitted it to Animal Planet, won some contest, and retired from the winnings.  But alas, no video recording and no early retirement.

So instead of the outdoorsy, firey side of Scout, for now we will have to appreciate another aspect of her character.  I like to call this portrait “Bed Head.”